Saturday, January 07, 2006

Super slo-mo

On the last day of the Sydney test, the Cricket Show dispensed some eye candy in the form of a special section devoted to super slo-mo shots (1000 frames a second - and we were promised that 4000 frames per second is just around the corner). I called my wife over - a long suffering non-fan of cricket - and pointed out some of the beauty on display: the wrist action of the leg-spinner, the awesome power of a fast bowler's stride (and the associated strain put on his back and knees - my wife went "ouch" as we watched, followed by a "wow"), the flexing forearm muscles of a batsman as he launches into a square-drive (Ponting launched an absolute crackerjack of one against Nel that rivals anything Gordon Greenidge ever produced), and the athleticism of the wicketkeeper making a dive down the legside. All in all, it was a revelatory moment, and enabled me to launch into a spiel about the obsession that cricket fans have with images of cricket.

I'm not sure if there is any other sport which manages to elevate its photographers to quasi-celebrity status. Most serious cricket fans will have heard of Patrick Eagar and Ken Kelly, and others will be able to talk about their favorite cricket photographs at length. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to try and track down some classic images that were favorites of mine, and talk a little bit about what makes them stand out for me. I'll start with a discussion of a famous photograph taken during the 1928-29 series of Bradman driving Farmer White.

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